Death Courier – Necrotic Verses Review

I will admit that I chuckled upon seeing the name Death Courier for the first time. My sick mind created a twisted version of that famous scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you know, the one where the cart does the equivalent of a garbage collection route, picking up each household’s dead. Only in my version, the Death Courier would be delivering corpses to your doorstep much like the postal worker delivers the mail. I soon realized that my mental picture was on the ghoulish side given the current pandemic that has literally delivered death to people’s doorsteps across the world, but any guilt I felt soon subsided when I realized one simple truth: I’m here to review a death metal album, and reviewing death metal isn’t usually about cupcakes1 and rainbows. So let’s head out to the mailbox to see if today’s corpse delivery is deliciously fetid and gross, or if I’ll be tossing it straight into the the recycling cart along with the Valpak2.

Hailing from Greece, Death Courier is not unlike like their many famous national ruins as their origins are rooted in antiquity. Death metal antiquity, that is. Formed in 1987, the band released a slew of demos, an EP, and one full-length before splitting up in 1993. Reformed in 2009 by original member Bill Soulas, Death Courier is now releasing their third album, Necrotic Verses, a compact collection of thrashy death metal in the vein of Malevolent Creation. Single “Mourning Ecstasy” is a great example of the band’s sound at its very best: lowly roared vocals from Soulas, frenetic drumming from Ilias Iliopoulos, and some nasty Slayer-esque riff work from George Petousis.

The opening title track is another solid shipment of nasty goods, its massive intro undergirded by some incredible drumming, and its riffs snaking sinisterly all over the place. “When Death Fits to Skin” features an album’s worth of rhythmic variation, “Visceral” earns its name with some nasty tremolos and blast beats, and “As Heaven Blends With Rot” employs a spacey solo, adding a layer of depth to its thrash assault. And it’s that thrash assault by which Death Courier lives or dies. When the pedal is to the floor, these guys really shine. Unfortunately, things slow to a chugging crawl several times, and simplistic riffs take the place of their blistering counterparts. “Pillars” is the biggest culprit with its sub-four minute runtime that seems much longer, but “When Death Fits to Skin” and “Visceral” both limp from the starting line with boring chugs before hitting their violent strides. Normally I love contrast in my death metal, but there just seems to be too much of a disparity in quality between the fast and slow portions on Necrotic Verses.

The album has an absolutely lethal production that suits the death/thrash style extremely well. The guitars are molten and the drums are just punishing. Soulas sounds like a man possessed, and his delivery is certainly one of the standout performances. But if I’m being honest, all three band members standout for their abilities here, and that’s what makes Necrotic Verses so frustrating: Death Courier have everything they need to succeed, but the songwriting holds this effort back. I had a hard time recalling much beyond a few highlight tracks from listen to listen, but “Mourning Ecstasy,” “Necrotic Verses,” and “As Heaven Blends With Rot” are all certainly worth your time.

I was initially blown away by my Death Courier delivery. In my excitement, I opened the envelope and tossed it away while standing in front of the mailbox. But that initial rush cooled after multiple listens. These guys have an incredible sound and wrote a few killer tracks, but I just couldn’t connect with much of what was happening on Necrotic Verses. This is an incredibly talented band, and I will certainly be spinning their next effort to see if it grabs me.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: June 5th, 2020

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Unless the cupcakes are made out of people.
  2. Never turn your back on bargains! – Steel Shopper
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